Nature/Flora in Alonnisos

Alonnisos is one of the greenest islands in Greece with fabulous Mediterranean diversity. The most common are coniferous trees with a strong green color, followed by holly or kermes oaks, small bushy trees that are quite different from European oaks. The Arbutus or strawberry tree is also common on the island, bearing small bell-shaped flowers and berry-shaped fruit (not strawberries!).

 

Apart from the trees, different flowers and plants bloom on the island all year round. Winter flowers include the crocus and anemone. The latter boasts large blue or pink flowers and serrated leaves, except in hidden ravines without sunlight where it becomes small and white, more like the Northern Europe variety.

The oxalis blossoms in the begging of the year and creates yellow carpets that attract many a bee. A stranger flower is the bell shaped Targ-Tozz which grows below olive trees and boasts bright green leaves. The tree heather with tiny bell-shaped flowers is also on show in early spring, followed by the dark pink blossoms of the Judas tree which is abundant on the island and feels right at home here.

    

By April a cornucopia of flowers transforms Alonissos into a veritable botanical garden, including rock roses with pink or yellow flowers, Ophrys Mammosa orchids, Pyramidal orchids, pink Italian gladiolas, senna bladder flowers and many more.

Different herbs start making appearances in spring such as wild sage, while in June and July you can enjoy the sight of thyme blossoms with pink flowers, as well as oregano in July.

The fall rewards visitors with flowering heather bushes, cyclamens and Etruscan honeysuckle which by then bears small orange berries. These are but a sample of Alonnisos' natural bounty.

Lastly, the winding rocky gorge of Kastanorema on the northeast corner of the island is a haven for marble trees (Montpellier), maple trees and stone oaks. Watch out for the colour of the maple leaves in November when they turn into a beautiful orange.

 

Other noteworthy trees and shrubs on Alonnisos and surrounding islands include the lentisk (mastic), flowering phillyrea plants, the rhamnus (buckthorn), the Phoenician juniper and the rare tree Amelanchier chelmea.

The Phrygana or garrigue bush is also common and consists of many species. Then there are the 'chasmophytes', plants that live in rock fissures, which are very interesting as they boast several endemic flower species such as Linum gyranium, Campanula reiseri, Arenana phitosiana and others.

Lastly, worth mentioning are the beds of the seaweed Poseidonia oceanicae under water, very important for supporting organisms in the marine ecosystem. 

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